Surgeon Simulator: Anniversary Edition (PS4) Review

I hope you got insurance.

Apart from one time on the PC, I never really played Surgeon Simulator. I thought it was a rather interestingly dumb idea – mix QWOP with a doctor and a bone saw; that could make for a rather funny time. Well, for the most part, it does, but the novelty started to wear off relatively quickly.

Taking on the role of Dr. Nigel Burke, players must conduct a series of operations including a heart transplant, double kidney transplant, eye transplant, and even replacing teeth. The trick is, Dr. Burke is a major klutz and controlling his single arm is a bit of a challenge. Using the DualShock 4, players move Burke’s arm using the left stick while L2 lowers the arm in a crane game-style motion. It defaults to rotating the arm and hand with the motion control on the DS4, but that was too much of a problem for me so I switched it to the right stick. R1 closes the thumb and index finger while R2 closes the other three fingers, so no more giving the patient the bird.

Platform: PS4, iOS, PC
MSRP: $12.99
Price I’d pay: $8
Multiplayer: 2 player local co-op

Cutting out a heart with a bone saw.

It is almost like a puzzle game. Knowing what organ to cut, where to cut it, and what tool to use is a game in and of itself. Then, trying to position the hand and the tool in the best way is another challenge. Many would say this game controls horribly. I would say that’s the point.

Another part of the strategy is making sure I didn’t kill Bob, the patient. Every cut I made would reduce his blood level. If it dropped to zero, well, let’s just say Bob never saw what horrible things I did to him. On top of that, cutting into him would also make him bleed. This means, I have a limited amount of time before he died to get in, replace the needed organ, and get out. So not only was I fumbling with the controls, I was being timed on top of that.

Seven years of medical school? Ha.

It is a rather novel idea that truthfully was funny the first few times I played it, but after two hours of trying to figure out what to do in a certain surgery only to fail, it quickly became a matter of “I really don’t want to attempt this anymore.” It’s like each operation is a boss fight in an RPG, and doing it over and over again is like level grinding. I don’t know about you, but I don’t enjoy level grinding too much.

The PS4 version allows for the first time cooperative play. That’s right; two disembodied arms can tear up Bob in local co-op. I was unable to try out this mode, but after playing the game, I could see how this would be both a hilarious situation as much as it would be breaking friendships while trying to save lives.

Is it safe?!

The visuals are actually rather colorful and from the look of all the equipment and aesthetic, it seems to take place in the 1980’s. The music feels like it was ripped out of an 80’s hospital drama and fits the game perfectly.

I’m not saying Surgeon Simulator is a bad game. I mean, it is, but it’s supposed to be. The game is interesting in multiple ways, but in the end, I found myself enjoying about three hours of it and then deciding I didn’t have the time or the patience to do some of the later surgeries. Still, it is a decently fun time running through it for the first time. Just keep in mind, the novelty wears off faster than the anesthesia.

Review copy of game provided by publisher.

  • Interesting concept
  • Local co-op
  • Charming look and setting
  • Trial and error gets boring and frustrating
  • The novelty wears off rather quick
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Drew is the Community Manager here at ZTGD and his accent simply woos the ladies. His rage is only surpassed by the great one himself and no one should stand between him and his Twizzlers.